Growing up, when I said “never,” my daddy reminded me, “Never is a long time.” Maybe that’s why we are advised, “Never say never.”
As I look around our home this November day well before Thanksgiving, my heart smiles as I remember this time last year.
I never thought our holiday décor would cross seasonal boundaries, resulting in an eclectic yet strange mix of turkeys and reindeer, pilgrims and Santas.
My (now) daughter-in-law thought I’d gone crazy, but little did she know it wasn’t my idea.
What would no doubt have appeared to many to be a hot holiday mess at our house warmed my heart. While I’ve always believed those Ecclesiastes verses, “There’s a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens,” I also realized the winds of change were blowing, and one season was drawing to somewhat of a close.
Let me explain.
Those of you who know our older son, Whitson, know he’s a “get it done” kind of guy.
Rainy days have always been challenging for the young farmer as he searches for projects to accomplish when he can’t be in the field.
So maybe the Spirit hit him on that rainy day, or maybe some of your early bird decorator posts on social media gave him the idea, but he somehow settled on the notion, “I bet Mom would LOVE me to set up the Christmas trees.”
Let me back up a few years and eat my words from when I was an idealistic newlywed. I vowed then to never (yep, there’s that word again) have an artificial tree.
Well, several years later and after a crashed live tree one year, a tiny white bug infestation another year, multiple years of itchy arm rashes from decorating live trees combined with fire hazard worries, and you guessed it … I opted for man-made pre-lit Christmas trees.
But I had still held true to “never” decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.
Traditions are good, but judgmental attitudes are not.
Yes, I admit I’ve even been a little judgmental of others who decorate early, inwardly questioning their motives and being tempted to remind them of the “last shall be first and the first last” bible verse.
But last year, those winds of change blowing both leaves and snowflakes through our house shifted my perspective.
When I discovered Whitson assembling trees, just certain his surprise would please me, I flashed back to how he used to enjoy helping me do this when he was a younger.
I pictured his sweet little helping hands and the way his big brown eyes lit up. Like me, he’s always appreciated and enjoyed the Christmas transformation of our home (even though he’s ready for it to disappear Dec. 26, well before I am). I smiled and chose not to protest.
You see, this mama realized it would be his last Christmas living under our roof. He and Courtnee were engaged to be married in the spring. So I chose to embrace his holiday spirit rather than squelch it.
I even thought to myself that getting the trees up and lit would be kind of nice. After all, I do love the glow of those lights! (But I did have to draw the line when he handed me a fall wreath to pack away, trying to trade me for a holly one. Not so fast, son! I told him the trees would be fine, but let’s wait on the rest until after Thanksgiving.)
So, while I’ve sometimes snubbed my nose at people who decorate before the pumpkin pie has baked, I began realizing that the spirit of the season may hit people at different times for different reasons … and who am I to question or judge that?
Is there really even a right or a wrong time?
In the past, I’ve blamed the early decorators on a cultural brainwashing of sorts, complete with marketing gimmicks galore. They must have either fallen for it or they’re showoffs. But seriously, of all things to be judgmental or stubborn about!
Today, I’m thankful for changing perspective, and I’m so thankful for the Spirit’s movements, whenever they hit!
When we take the time to look a little closer, it’s amazing what we may discover. In those well- known, “time-for- everything” verses in Ecclesiastes are also these words in verses 12-13: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God.”
So rather than judging anyone’s when or why, maybe we’re better off simply wishing others a heartfelt holiday season overflowing with thanksgiving and joy.
Pilgrims and turkeys communing with Santas and reindeer may be a sight I thought I’d never see in our home, but giving thanks and joy, what a beautiful combination any time!
Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 25 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.